In 2018 more than 500 campers attended a program in the winter and summer. Many campers attend multiple times and can afford to do so because a session at Bethany Birches is affordable. Each time a camper attends they develop relationships, skills in different areas, spend a lot of time outside and have a ton of fun. In the midst of that experience God meets people. Many talk about God being most available and real to them at Bethany Birches. Talking with a camper mom this summer I learned that the highlight of her daughter’s year (yes, entire year) is Bethany Birches. Yacos says, “This camp is the best ever – the games are fun, the counselors are awesome and God is everywhere.”
We are only able to create this experience because supporters give time and money generously. Monetary giving happens in two main ways: giving to fund the tiered pricing program (direct camper subsidies) and giving to fund capital purchases of various kinds. The first giving is easy to understand. You essentially pay the bill for someone who cannot pay it themselves. The second giving is harder to understand and yet very important. So briefly, here’s how the second works. In a normal business or organization, customers pay a price that includes direct and indirect expenses. Let’s say you go out for Breakfast on Saturday morning. The price you pay includes the cost of the egg and toast and jam and maybe the time it took someone to prepare it. The price also includes indirect expenses like the cost of the heat in the building, the plate you’re eating from, the cost of the rent of the building etc. At Bethany Birches, the board set a goal to have campers pay mostly for direct costs and for the larger indirect costs, especially capital, to be donated to help keep camp affordable. Capital expenses at camp include purchases like a new gator, tractor, snow plow, new heating system, repairs to buildings, and the purchase of buildings themselves.
Each year we take on some level of capital improvement so that we can maintain good working equipment and buildings and so that camp can be safe and of good quality. This year, we took on a bunch of small projects. I am super excited about them. Some have been completed and some have not. We purchased a new Gator as the old Gator was 10 years old and would be better used in a slightly less demanding setting. If you’d like to buy the camp’s 2008 model John Deere Gator 620i, with snow plow, contact the office to learn more. We are still looking for contributions toward the new Gator. The Pond beach is another exciting project and thankfully, has been paid for. There are a total of seven capital/special projects highlighted on the camp’s website including program upgrades, building upgrades, strategic planning and basketball court resurfacing. Check them out at www.bethanybirches.org/give18 where you can learn more about each project and see how much has been given toward each.
It’s giving to these things that helps the overall cost for camp stay low and helps us provide a safe, fun and high-quality experience. Thank you to those of you who have given time or money in the past. Please consider this opportunity for giving as we head into the Christmas season.
~ Brandon “Tuna” Bergey, Executive Director
p.s. Some have asked for a family picture. Well, here it is! At home we have also been working on project… his name is Simon and he’s the littlest one in this photo. We are so glad to have the privilege of living with him and parenting him.